Excerpt from

Three Scenarios: Games Men Play
Initiative Test, A Story from Real Life

by and about Jim Stewart.
Copyright M.J. Stewart-Addison

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Page 4-6

Please note that 'Turks' is a name given to dangerous SAS army trainees that "spent their entire time in full dark combat gear, and were a law unto themselves, well at least to the officers, specially trained to keep them in line."


Part of the sort sharp course for each intake of Turks was a final Initiative Test. That's how I came to be "snatched" one damp November night smack in the middle of the main compound. I was off-duty, heading out of the NCO's Bar because a rowdy drinking session was building up. Two beefy Turks were suddenly standing immediately in front of and behind me as though we'd been buddies for years. Passers-by passed by without a second glance at three men apparently in intimate conversation. Anyway, nobody messed with Turks. I had only had one drink, but two oppressively close rock solid jaws quietly convinced me that they could quickly make me look drunk to the point of falling over. They instructed me to accompany them behind a shed ... which I did, almost without my feet touching the floor. There, pushed against a low metal fence, my mouth was taped before I'd even thought of making a noise.

"Swift and silent" I evaluated mentally before I was suddenly uncomfortably bent almost double over the fence. While my feet were beg kicked wide apart, the Turk in front pressed down on the top of my spine. This left the man behind me free to begin roping my wrists efficiently behind my back while pressing me into the fence with the full weight of his body. He took his time. My experience as an Escape Artist automatically swung into play as I followed the progress of an efficient square lash taking shape in the middle of my back. Like being in a car accident, it all seemed to be happening in slow motion.

"Hands parallel with the waist," I thought ... "Palms against forearms." "Unusual", I thought as a fist from behind me gripped my hair and a vice-like arm circled my throat.

I watched the stars and felt the rain on the part of my face that wasn't covered with adhesive tape, while the ropes from my wrists were knotted in front of my waist and then systematically run through both elbows pulling them forward before the rope was knotted with emphatic finality below my rib cage."

"Impossible to reach" I decided calmly as my neck was released and I stared mutely across the fence into a pair of piercing steel blue eyes .

Suddenly I was looking at the floor again, collar gripped firmly from behind. The athletic figure ahead of me was stooping to produce something from a back-pack behind the fence. I anticipated a sack over my head as everything went dark - but my head emerged out of the other side and I was standing up wearing an Army rain poncho-type ground sheet. For the record, it wasn't the sort of lightweight kit they use now. Back then a ground-sheet poncho was thick khaki rubberized canvas with no hood; at front and back it reached to below the knees, at the sides below the finger-ends and had metal eyelets all round the edge for when used as a ground sheet. It completely covered my roped arms I noted as the grim-faced Turk in front carefully adjusted the high collar so it easily hid my taped mouth. The body weight which had been clamping me against the fence withdrew slightly but a mouth, dangerously close to my ear, advised me to keep my legs well spread or walk like a duck for a week.

Now, with two determined-to-pass-their-initiative-test Turks looming on either side of me, they quietly explained the differences between achieving their aims the "Hard way" or the "Easy way". I decided to co-operate (at least in the short term). This would involve us walking together like three merry fellows who'd already had a few drinks in the Club and were now heading .... past the Guard Post ... out of the Main gate and off towards the village pub. My mind raced ahead to the opportunities which this might afford. Security on this easy-going camp was far from strict (No IRA terrorist threat in those days). Foot traffic in and out of the gate was continuous because Officer's Quarters, Married Quarters and the local pub were all only a short walk from the Main Compound. Ever hopeful, I realized that most of the guards knew me by sight because they also used the gym and I'd been on courses with them. With any luck "Big Toby" or one of his mates would be manning the gates and call me over for a chat.

As two more rain-ponchos appeared and were slipped over two bullet heads, their woolen caps (which distinguish these hard-nut visitors from the more conventional RAF personnel) were firmly pulled down around their ears and eyebrows. My distinctive RAF cap, bearing it's flashy new "Codes and Ciphers" badge, symbol of my trusted status as knower-of-codes, was retrieved from the mud. It disappeared into the rucksack and a woolen cap was crammed firmly over my ears until it almost covered my eyes. When this was arranged to their satisfaction my attention was drawn to the fact that ends of the rope at my front were quite long. ... long enough to disappear under the ponchos of the man on either side of me. Taking up the slack they neatly demonstrated that they had considerable control. They also explained that one false move as we passed the Guard Room would result in my suddenly falling over ... amid much merry laughter. I would then be hoisted onto a brawny shoulder (hanging rather limp) and be carried out of the gate while the third member of our party remained at the Guard Post to explain how I (another "Turk") was the looser of a wager and about to be dunked in the local brook. Our boys on Guard Duty have learned not to get involved with the carryings-on of these highly volatile visitors who live life by different rules.

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